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Is professional cleaning of the teeth necessary?

Yes. Even the most careful and conscientious cleaning can leave some plaque and tartar deposits. Therefore, it is necessary to have your dentist give your teeth a professional cleaning every 6 months. Professional cleaning or scaling improves periodontal health.

How old should a child be when he visits the dentist for the first time?

Your child's first visit to the dentist should be between 2 and 3 years of age. The child should go to the dentist for the first time preferably not as a toothache patient, but free from pain and discomfort, so that the child will learn to know the dentist as a friend. However, if a child younger than 2 has a cavity, or teeth have been injured in an accident, please visit a dentist for an examination and the necessary treatment.

As parents you should prepare your child before the dental visit to understand what will happen there. During this early visit your dentist will:

  • Check for tooth decay or other dental problems
  • Advise you about your child's dental hygiene and problems like thumb sucking and nursing bottle decay
  • Identify your child's fluoride needs
  • Get your child used to the dental office environment and the dentist
  • Help your child build a lifetime of good dental habits
Why is it important to keep the primary teeth and to have them filled if cavities develop?

The primary teeth should be given the best of care because they were designed by Nature to assist in chewing food, contribute to facial development and expression, preserve the space for incoming permanent teeth and help in better speech habits. However, if the defective tooth cannot be treated and filled properly, it should be extracted.

What is gum disease?

Bacteria in plaque can release substances that irritate and inflame gum tissues. This condition is called gingivitis. When plaque is not removed, it hardens around the gum line and forms tartar. The infection then spreads to the bone supporting the tooth, and eventually the tooth may fall out. This is called periodontal disease.

How do I prevent cavities?

You can help prevent cavities by following these tips:

  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily or use an interdental cleaner
  • Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking
  • Check with your dentist about use of supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth, and about use of dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from decay
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination
How can tooth decay and gum disease be prevented?

Follow these 4 Rules:

  1. Eat foods that have vitamins and minerals.
  2. Don't eat sweet or sticky foods between meals.
  3. Brush your teeth after every meal.
  4. Visit the dentist at least twice a year.
The dentist can remove tartar from places you cannot reach, detect and fill cavities, and also advise you on correct dental care.

What is the proper way to brush my teeth?

Thorough brushing twice a day, and cleaning between the teeth daily with floss or other interdental cleaners, removes plaque. Keep these tips in mind when brushing your teeth: 1) Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. 2) Place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and use a gentle tooth-wide, back-and-forth motion. 3) Clean the inside teeth surfaces where plaque deposits are heavy, and clean the back teeth and tongue.

How often should I replace my toothbrush?

Treat yourself to a new toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become worn, splayed, or frayed. A hard, brittle brush can injure your gums. Children's brushes may need to be replaced more often, as they can wear them out more quickly.

Is it safe to have dental treatment while I'm pregnant?

Not only is it safe but also it is extremely important. The hormones that your body is producing to sustain your pregnancy are also causing changes in your gums. You may notice that your gums bleed more easily when you brush and floss. This is normal during pregnancy and should not discourage your regular home care. Regular professional cleanings during the course of the pregnancy will allow your dentist to monitor your gums for any other changes such as a "pregnancy tumor" where a localized swelling causes significant bleeding.

While elective procedures are not generally recommended, there are no unsafe dental procedures for a pregnant patient. Fillings, extractions, and root canals can be preformed safely during pregnancy. The healthier you are, the healthier your baby will be.

Do I still need to visit the dentist if I have dentures?

Many people think a dentist only takes care of permanent teeth. Nothing is farther from the truth. Your dentist is a medical doctor who has specialized in the oral cavity. Even if you do not have your natural teeth, it is important to see your dentist yearly for an exam. Many health problems show up in the mouth first. Ill-fitting or loose dentures can cause sores and an over growth of tissue that makes it difficult to eat and speak properly. Dentures sometimes need to be relined or remade. Like everything else in this world, nothing lasts forever. See your dentist yearly and "Get a check up from the neck up!"

Fun Dental Fact
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